I have been planning this for over 3 years now. Not only is it ready for the printers it has also been produced in audio form.
It’s called “I hate netwroking” and is about the networking life of Brian, the reluctant networker. Most of the book is dialogue between Brian and his conscience…i.e. me!
Here’s an extract
The Networking Life of Brian
Brian’s office 9.15am. Four weeks before the event. Brian is sorting out his post.
“Right, what have we here? Letters from clients, junk mail, letters from Revenue and Customs… we’ll certainly add that to the junk mail pile. Ah, what’s this – an invitation from another professional services firm?
Walter, Feather & Co
Invites Brian Camberton
To our Annual Premier Networking Event
At the Grand Hotel
Tuesday 4th March at 6pm
Ooch I hate those events…waste of time…They hardly recommend any work to us so what’s the point? In fact, knowing that firm, they’re bound to invite 150+ people and I’ll feel like a fish out of water. No, I’m going to bin it. Not for me, thank you.”
“Hi, Brian. Please stop before you throw that invitation in the bin. Didn’t you say recently that despite it being a good year, things have started to slow down and you could do with more work?
“Who in heaven’s name said that?! I’m hearing voices. I must be going mad”
“I’m sorry Brian, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Will and my role in life is to help you and other professionals become more confident and effective networkers. When you listen to my tips, techniques and ideas, I promise that networking will become a lot easier, more enjoyable, and, more importantly, you’ll leave every event with something useful.”
“Well hello there, Will. Are you an expert in this networking stuff?”
“Well I don’t like to boast but I do have a pretty deep knowledge of the subject. But then so do you I hear, a leading authority in your field too?”
“I suppose it has been said.”
“You’re being a little modest here now aren’t you? People come from miles for your advice, you write lots or articles and you have even been interviewed on the TV.”
“You have checked me out thoroughly.”
“Yes, master networkers spend time in preparation as you’ll see later. Now tell me, how much business development do you do?”
“None really, I leave it to others. But I must tell you this, Will, they drive me mad to get more involved.”
“My partners, the management board, even some of the my subordinates tell me we’d get so much more work if I ‘got involved’.
“So why don’t you?”
“Because I’m a professional , others should do that. Just let me do a great job for my clients and the work will come.”
That’s true , but to a point. It means you rely on others to send you that extra work, you’re not in control are you?”
“I suppose you’re right. So what do you think I should do?”
“May I start by asking you to consider this? You just never know who’s going to be at this event; what useful contacts or even prospective clients you may meet. You’re going to raise your profile and that of the firm. You may learn something and, believe it or not, you might actually have a good time.”
“What event’s that then?”
“The one you’ve been invited to. Look – the invitation you’re holding. Why not give it a go?”
“I don’t believe it’s ever possible to have a good time let alone pick up any business.
I’ve been attending these events for years and I can’t remember the last time I arrived home thinking it was time well-spent.”
“As I say, I’m here to change all that. Stick with me for this one event and let’s see what happens. After all, you were recently moaning that business wasn’t as brisk as you’d like it to be. Perhaps a re-think in your attitude can improve the situation?”
“How do you know I said that business isn’t what it could be?”
“As an authority on networking, Brian, it’s my job to constantly keep my ears and eyes open. When you’re awake, alive and alert, you can pick up so much useful information.”
“Sounds like you’re spying on me.”
“Only for your own good, Brian. Tell me, have you ever been trained in the skills of networking?”
“Let me think…no I don’t think so.”
“So is it any wonder you find it difficult and unsettlng? How would you feel if you had to do your professional work without any formal training?”
“Well, I just wouldn’t be able to do it.”
“Correct, so why should you feel secure and reassured in this aspect of your work?”
“Putting it that way, I guess you make a valid point.”
“Okay, Will. I’ll go to this event but I just know it’s going to be waste of time. Where’s that invitation. I had better RSVP.”
“Good. Stay with me Brian and let me give you all the support you need.
And that brings us nicely onto the first thing I’d like to say. Ignoring an invitation, throwing it in the bin the way you did, is nothing short of rude. You wouldn’t do that with an invitation to a friend’s party now would you? You see Brian, replying courteously – even in the negative – ensures that you stand out from the crowd. Every time you and your company’s name are seen in a positive manner, that’s good marketing. If you can’t go, first and foremost send a polite reply. However, alternatively, why not suggest that someone else represents the business to see what opportunities exist? And, unless it is a £100 per head dinner or a really glitzy affair, you may wish to ask your hosts if you can bring a colleague with you. That way there will be two of you networking on behalf of your company. After all, as they say in the air-force, it’s good to have a wingman.”
“I see. Maybe I would do well to listen to what you have to say. I’d better send that reply card back saying I’m going to attend.
“Good start, Brian, who knows what might happen?”